New N.C. Record Striper Landed on December 30

David Hiebert (L) and Capt. David Bronson with Hiebert's new N.C. state record 62 pound striper, caught December 30 on Bronson's boat Triple Crown.

When he turned south after passing through Oregon Inlet on December 30, 2005, Capt. David Bronson made a fateful decision he and longtime friend David Hiebert, plus many members of their families, will remember for a long time. “I don’t really know what made me head south that morning, but I believe you’ll agree it turned out to be the right decision,” said a very happy Capt. David Bronson after his longtime friend, David Hiebert, weighed a new N.C. state record 62 pound striped bass on December 30.

The huge striper was weighed at the weigh station at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center and will be recorded as the new N.C. record as soon as all the paperwork is processed. The former record of 60 pounds, caught by Catherine Willis, had held since 1972.

Bronson, of Apex, and Hiebert, of Scotts, Michigan, who became friends years ago while both were living in Greenville, were on the third day of a holiday fishing trip to Nags Head, when they landed the historic fish. They were fishing on Bronson’s Mercury powered 26 foot Mako, Triple Crown.

“There were lots of boats going south and I just kept running because I never saw a reason to stop,” Bronson said. “Finally, we were down off of Avon and I saw some birds start diving, so I turned and ran to them and in just a minute or two we had three fish on.”

Two of the fish were nice stripers in the mid 30 pound range. The third was the huge rockfish reeled in by Hiebert.

“I could not believe what I was seeing when the fish came up,” Bronson said. “It was a struggle to pull it over the side and into the boat. The fish was huge!”

The record striper hit a green and white Mojo lure, which Bronson had custom rigged. The reel was a Penn International, spooled with Berkley Big Game fishing line and mounted on a Penn Standup rod.

It was over six hours later, after fishing a while longer and landing another fish around 35 pounds, before Hiebert and Bronson carried the huge fish to the scales at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center Weigh Station.

When the weight came to 62 pounds there was speculation regarding the possibility of it being a record, but no one was sure. It was a while later before they realized it was a potential record and begin taking steps to insure all the paperwork was properly filled out.

The Kitty Hawk Rotary Rockfish World Championship was underway at the time and had Hiebert and Bronson been entered it would have been quite a haul. The tournament prizes included a Yamaha 200 HP Outboard for the winner, plus a bonus prize of a Chevrolet Silverado Truck and a 26 foot Southport Boat, with twin Mercury Verado 250 HP Outboards for anyone setting a new state record during the tournament.

Unfortunately they weren’t entered, but remained philosophical and pleased about their feat, rather than downcast about not being in the tournament.

Check out the complete story in the February North Carolina Sportsman Magazine.

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About Jerry Dilsaver 1123 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., a full-time freelance writer, is a columnist for Carolina Sportsman. He is a former SKA National Champion and USAA Angler of the Year.